H. E Mr. John Agyekum
24 September 2008
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JOHN AGYEKUM KUFUOR, President of Ghana, said the world was in a state of flux, with challenges that were befuddling all nations, both strong and weak, rich and poor. But at the same time, there were also tremendous opportunities, and there had been tremendous progress in a range of areas, from medicine to engineering and bioscience technologies. Those opportunities were diffusing power around the globe, and the primary challenge was how the many peoples of the world would promote common humanity as the primary factor behind their endeavours.
He said the United Nations was the only Organization with the potential to command respect around the globe, and under its auspices, the strong and rich nations showed greater tendencies towards sharing resources, such as knowledge and finance with the poor. That echoed the same moral streak embedded in the United Nations that had motivated various regional blocks around the world, including Africa. Dramatic improvements had been made in Africa over the last 15 years, and the African Union’s Peer Review Mechanism demonstrated African nations’ great resolve to adhere to the rule of law and good governance. It was noteworthy that most African Union members had signed up for review, and many more of the continent’s leaders were using the ballot box to assume power.
Under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Africa was trying to pool resources among its members and players outside the continent, to exploit the potential to develop its resources, including in energy, telecommunications, transportation and agriculture. That was the way to solve the many problems of the continent such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, ignorance and conflicts.
While acknowledging the support of its development partners, President Kufuor said there was still room for improvement. Various forms of assistance were uncoordinated and insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target date. As noted in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XII’s Accra Accord, the goal of aid was to empower beneficiary countries to become effective partners in the global market.
He noted that poor economic conditions in 2001, the year he assumed power, had forced Ghana to sign up for the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC). Ghana had subsequently achieved the HIPC Completion Point quickly to earn a debt forgiveness of about $8 billion from bilateral and multilateral creditors. That success had led to increased inflows of domestic and foreign investment, which had allowed the Government to initiate many social services and improve its infrastructure. Those policies and others had laid the groundwork for Ghana to attain its ambitious vision of a middle income status by 2015. It showed that accelerated national development and good governance, including respect for human rights, were not mutually exclusive, and good governance should hasten development.